Posted 2 years ago

By Post Staff

Johnny DeppActor Johnny Depp says he’s interested in buying 40-acres of land on the Pine Ridge Reservation that includes part of the Wounded Knee massacre site.

Depp, who played Tonto in the current remake of the Lone Ranger, told a British tabloid he is “doing my best to make it happen.”

The land has an assessed value of less than $14,000 but owner James Czywczynski of Rapid City is asking for $4.9-million…although he told Indian Country Today Media Network that his top priority is that the eventual buyer donate the land to the Oglala Sioux Tribe.

Tribal President Bryan Brewer told the network he welcomed Depp’s offer and appreciated the actor’s concern and the respect for the native people that he was demonstrating. Brewer said the possibility of Depp’s goodwill effort toward keeping the Wounded Knee land in tribal hands was amazing.

Not everyone is as upbeat, in part because Depp’s portrayal of Tonto has been widely criticized as insensitive and culturally inaccurate.

Native American rights activist and journalist Chuck Trimble of Omaha, an enrolled member of the Oglala Sioux, doesn’t like the idea not because of Depp but because of Czywczynski.

Trimble says it’s not right to paying such money to a man who is holding the Wounded Knee site hostage for a price, adding that he thinks it’s very questionable how Czywczynski got the land in the firsst place.

Winnebago activist and former Nebraska Indian Commission member Frank LaMere says the Wounded Knee issue is a spiritual matter and he believes the Oglala tribe is the one who should decide what happens.